The International Students and Scholars Office and the Cornell Women’s Resource Center sponsored a celebration of International Women’s Day at the A.D. White House yesterday evening. The gathering recognized 15 members of the Cornell community who have contributed to women’s issues on both a local and an international level.
“It’s an event that we started a few years ago to honor women and individuals who have made an impact and continue to make impacts on the lives of women both in Ithaca and in the global community,” said event co-organizer Wendy Lombardo, associate director of the International Students and Scholars Office.
Individuals working in a wide range of fields were honored at the ceremony, each receiving a certificate of recognition for his/her efforts. This year’s recipients were Jyoti Aggarwal ’03; Kalpana Bains ’03; Research Fellow Nimat Hafez Baranzagi; Graduate Student Life Director Victoria Blodgett; Nina Cummings of Gannett: Cornell University Health Services; Prof. Martha Fineman, law; Pradeep Giri ’05; Johnson Graduate School of Management Registrar Janet Gray; Tanni Hall of New Student Programs and Student Support; Prof. Risa L. Lieberwitz, law; Funa Maduka ’04; Prof. Kathryn March, anthropology; Prof. Andrea Parrot, policy analysis and management; Gannett Health Educator Jan Talbot and Prof. Sandra Steingraber of the Center for the Environment.
“I think that often the contributions in terms of women and the international community go unnoticed,” said Kelly Connison, director of the Women’s Resource Center. “This is a way to honor both, people who are active in both communities. In every corner of the campus and every department on campus, they’re all working to make the community a more open environment for women.”
International Women’s Day has been celebrated at Cornell for the past three years, and has been recognized in many countries since its inception in 1909. The event is currently celebrated around the world, including in China, where women are given a day off from work, and Russia, where men give presents to women in a tradition similar to Valentine’s Day.
Guests at the Cornell celebration mingled amongst displays documenting the achievements of previous International Women’s Day honorees and partook of hors d’oeuvres. Attendees then gathered for a brief ceremony in which the award recipients were presented with their certificates.
Arvind Chandrasekar grad was pleased with the event.
“I think it’s great. I’ve been a very staunch supporter of women’s rights and gender equality in India, and I’m very glad and pleased to know that such an [honor] is here. I hope they continue it and I hope more men come to view it and support women’s causes all over the world. I hope that women’s rights get the importance they deserve,” Chandrasekar said.
Research Fellow Nimat Hafez Baranzagi, an honoree who is re-interpreting the Koran from a women’s rights perspective, also supported the event.
“It’s a very good idea and a great event to honor women; it’s a great way to honor those women: their activism, scholarship and interest in community work. We just hope that this event will be a good [way] for women to become more involved in policy-making and bring more peace and justice to the world than what we get from generally male policy-makers,” Baranzagi said.
Honorees must be nominated to be recognized at the event, but the selection process is non-competitive.
The celebration had a special focus on honorees who worked with women in an international capacity.
Kalpana Bains ’03, an honoree and the president of the International Student Programming Board, said, “I think it’s a good way for people to encourage others to participate in events to help women’s international issues.”
“I think it’s a great way to honor people who aren’t necessarily always honored,” said fellow honoree Jyoti Aggarwal ’03, “To pick out people who make a big difference around the community and say ‘Hey, I like what you do.'”
Archived article by Jeff Sickelco